All Focus On Feature articles – Page 3

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    Focus On Feature

    FOCUS ON BREAKFAST: Morning service


    The out-of-home breakfast market is in growth – albeit from a small base. According to Lumina Intelligence figures, in 2021 3.5% of breakfasts were eaten out of home but that rose to just over 4% last year. McDonald’s was king of the out-of-home breakfast market last year, accounting for 12% of sales, with Greggs not far behind – which is good news for all the forecourts that have a Greggs on site. And the best-selling item at breakfast was a pastry followed by a sandwich – probably washed down with a coffee or a tea.

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    FOCUS ON HALLOWEEN: Ghoulish gains


    The supermarkets tend to make it easy for families to celebrate occasions such as Halloween. Shoppers are greeted by mounds of pumpkins and elsewhere can stock up with affordable sweets for Trick or Treating. Asda has long been the go-to place for costumes and, amid a cost-of-living crisis it still has some great value outfits. Prices start at £7 for a Robot Skeleton or Glow in the Dark Gamer Skeleton and even the more elaborate ones cost just £15.

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    FOCUS ON FOOD TO GO: All-day grazing


    We’ve all heard of the term ‘all-day grazing’ but perhaps didn’t realise how relevant it is to the forecourt retail environment – until now. Fresh Food For Now (which owns food-to-go brands including Ginsters and Urban Eat), recently carried out in-depth research into food-to-go which revealed a total of 14 distinct food-to-go missions – plus one more for forecourts: all day grazing.

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    FOCUS ON FORECOURT MAINTENANCE: Why proactive rather than reactive pays off


    Equipment is the lifeblood of business and must be kept running at peak efficiency to satisfy customer expectations and maintain operational profitability. Nowhere is this truer on the forecourt where pumps, jet washes, air and water and now EV charging are typically what drivers enter your sites for.

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    Once was the time when a forecourt’s pole sign simply showed the fuel brand and the price – today it communicates much more than that. There’s the symbol group under which the store trades, the food to go that customers can expect to find inside (think Greggs or Subway) and then, of course, the coffee brand.

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    FOCUS ON BIG NIGHT IN: The key ingredients


    There’s no doubting that the cost-of-living crisis has led to changes in consumer behaviour. But cutting back on going out – to a restaurant or the cinema – has been nothing but good news for the Big Night In occasion. Data from YouGov finds that 68% of UK adults have cut back by spending less on going out, and more on staying in with friends and family instead. Jose Alves, head of Häagen-Dazs UK at General Mills UK, says: “According to new research commissioned by Häagen-Dazs, more than a third of shoppers would choose a Big Night In (BNI) over going to a pub, bar, or restaurant to save money over the next six months, with one-in-three already hosting a BNI at least once a week.

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    ​ FOCUS ON BREAD AND BAKERY: Use your loaf


    When it comes to bread the advice is clear: never run out of best sellers. It seems quite obvious but still some stores get it wrong. And, with more and more forecourt stores doubling as the local convenience stores, maintaining availability of staples such as bread and milk is vital.

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    FOCUS ON EV CHARGING: Not-so-rapid rollout


    The race to provide EV charging across the UK continues with BT the latest to sign up. The communications giant’s start-up and digital incubation team, Etc., is conducting trials to turn BT’s street cabinets into EV charging units.

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    Prime is back in the news – for all the wrong reasons. Apparently some schools have banned the Hydration version after calling it a ‘distraction’ while the Energy version of the drink is being criticised for its high caffeine levels, particularly as so many kids are attracted to the brand. However, we all know the saying that ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’, so we can expect sales to rocket further. Prime is much more widely available than it has ever been – every Spar store in the land seems to have it, for example.

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    FOCUS ON SECURITY: Facing crime


    Most weeks Forecourt Trader reports on incidents of drive-offs from petrol stations. It could be a spree in one area or it could be someone in court for a series of offences. Unfortunately it looks like our reporting of these stories is not going to stop any time soon.

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    FOCUS ON PETCARE: Feeding time


    If you thought the cost-of-living crisis was bad for consumers, it’s even worse for many pets. During the pandemic, pet ownership went through the roof as people working from home bought fun and furry companions. The prices of pedigree dogs rocketed to eye-watering levels as breeders cashed in on the surge in popularity. But fast forward to today and, according to UK Pet Food (formerly known as the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association) 3.7 million households admitted to giving up a pet last year.

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    FOCUS ON wet-stock management: there’s no one size fits all


    How well fuel retailers manage their wet stock over the next 10 years will be a defining benchmark for whether their retail operation grows or is forced to leave the marketplace. So says Jeroen van Pelt, Dover Fueling Solutions’ wet stock business unit global sales director. “We’re on a mission to help fuel retailers understand what inaction could really cost them or what it’s already costing them,” he explains.

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    Confectionery made the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week when the Association of Convenience Stores released its 2023 Crime Report. Among all the interesting facts and figures, the report highlighted the fact that confectionery was the third most commonly stolen item – behind meat and alcohol. It might appear, from that, that confectionery is not the affordable treat it once was. Indeed, sugar prices have rocketed over the past year or so – apparently sugar production is very labour intensive. However, despite challenging economic times, the sugar confectionery market has grown by 9.9% over the past year, according to Circana data.

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    FOCUS ON CAR WASH & VALETING: Time to shine


    Automated car washing and valeting on the petrol forecourt is making a huge comeback thanks to the closure of many hand washing operations and the fact that drivers are keeping their cars for longer and therefore need to take better care of them. According to the Car Wash Association, the number of hand car washing outfits has dropped from possibly 20,000 before the pandemic to around 5,000-6,000 now and, according to Autocar, the average car in the UK is 10 years old.

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    FOCUS ON SOFT DRINKS: Thirsty work


    There’s no questioning the importance of the soft drinks category to forecourt retailers. Your shoppers are buying soft drinks at an astonishing rate and with the summer comes the peak time for sales.

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    FOCUS ON CRISPS AND SNACKS: Banking on bagged snacks


    In the car, at your desk, in front of the TV, even in bed… wherever people are and whatever they are doing, you can bet that often snacks are involved. This is why the UK’s crisps, snacks and nuts (CSN) market is worth £4bn and is growing by 10.7% year-on-year (Nielsen).

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    ​FOCUS ON RETAIL TECHNOLOGY: Money-saving mechanics


    When talking recently about growth plans for Maxol, CEO Brian Donaldson said that using the latest technology on and off the forecourt was central to its strategy. He announced that the company will be introducing contactless payments for car washes and installing more self-check outs – all aimed at bringing more convenience and simplicity to its customer base.

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    FOCUS ON PUMPS: Dispensing advice


    Top 50 Indie Highway Stops’ Park Royal Service Station in north west London became the first forecourt in the UK to receive a full repump with four Mepsan Smartline L dispensers plus a Mepsan Cosmic pump for its HGV lane earlier this year.

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    FOCUS ON SUMMER: Sizzling sales


    Who can forget summer 2022? On July 19, a new UK and England record was set when thermometers hit 40.3 degrees in Lincolnshire. Not only was this a 1.6 degree increase on the previously recorded hottest temperate, it was also the first time 40 degrees was recorded in the UK.

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    Filling up with petrol or diesel is not the most exciting of activities. Yes, some sites have state-of-the-art tech that features snazzy screens that distract you by telling you about the latest offers you can find in-store. But more will have pump crowners telling you about some gadget or other that you just can’t live without. You know the types of things – ranging from the super-useful such as the dashboard phone mount to the item you never thought you needed until you saw it – such as a Super Sonic Scrubber.